One of South Carroll's biggest strengths last season was the passinggame. Quarterback Joey Goodwin often used his strong arm and deft touch to move the Cavaliers up and down the field with little trouble.
That strength also turned out to be a weakness.
The Cavaliers struggled to find a ground game, and, as Coach Ken Parker freely admitted, leaned on the pass too much. That caused problems and sent the Cavaliers on the way to a 4-6 record.
Parker said a balanced attack and a stiffer defense are needed to lift the teamto the right side of .500 this year.
Goodwin (106-for-198 and 1,383 yards last year) will be the force on offense again this year. Thethree-sport senior star is back and, fortified with a year's experience at the helm and time at quarterback camp this summer, could be ready for a year to remember.
And it wouldn't surprise Parker, always effusive in praising his signal-caller.
"He's got an excellent arm," said Parker, starting his 25th at South Carroll. "He's a team leader. He's one of the best leaders I've ever had at South Carroll."
Goodwin hooked up with senior flanker Mike Downs (30 receptions, 368 yards) on several occasions last year. The 6-foot-5 receiver made anumber of key catches for the Cavaliers and is back again.
So thepassing game should fly again. The running game, which is so vital, has many questions. It suffered through an inconsistent season and needs someone to step forward and, well, carry the ball.
The runninggame's problem last year was its on-again, off-again nature. One game, or part thereof, it would be on. Then, just as quickly, it was back to one yard and a cloud of dust.
Parker said South Carroll knew it could move by air last year, and he wants more ground travel this year. A balanced attack would stop teams from only looking for the pass from the Cavaliers.
Seniors Ronnie Robinson and Troy Jones, along with junior Mike Dodd, will receive shots at tailback. They carried for a combined 437 yards last season.
Jeff Weisenborn, a junior,and senior Hank Zuretti should help at fullback, Parker said.
To help the running game along, South Carroll will need some major league blocking. Chris Logue (guard) and Bryan Solesha (center), both seniors, will be relied upon to open the holes for the backs and give Goodwin time to throw.
"We feel we have to block better," Parker said. "We have to move the ball."
On defense, South Carroll needs to stiffen this year. The Cavaliers must be more successful keeping opponents out of the end zone.
They must stop teams from driving for long stretches and keeping the ball. Opponents did this to the Cavaliers often last year, and Parker does not want history to repeat itself.
"The other teams kept the ball away from us," he said.
Logue, at nose guard, and Solesha, at defensive tackle, should help anchor the defense, Parker said. Dodd will add aid at linebacker, as will Weisenborn. Senior Andy Manley is also expected to be a big factor at defensive end. Manley also helps on offense, as the long snapper and tight end.
Parker said he wants his team to have mastered the technical aspects of football before the season begins. A lot of that has to do with desire and players' attitudes.
"The kids have a great attitude, and they have to have that on every play," Parker said. "For us to be really successful, everybody else needs to do it, to just get it done."